March 27, 2014

Blu-ray Review: Carrie (2013)
(aka Worst Prom Ever)
Release Date: On Blu-ray & DVD now.
Country: USA
Written by: Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sicasa, and Stephen King (novel.)
Directed by: Kimberly Peirce.
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabrielle Wilde, and Judy Greer.

Remakes are never going to stop, especially in the Horror genre. they just won't. It's simple economics, really; people like things that are new, yet feel familiar, and Studio's make money off of what people like, so...

Most Horror movies cost very little to make (at least comparatively to other genres), and even the "Higher End" Studio projects like this tend to keep their budgets under $30 million, so as far as bang for the buck goes, Horror remakes are really a no-brainer. Monetarily, that is.

We could go on and on at novel-length about the whole remake issue, but the bottom line is this: familiar sells.

Carrie was not a movie that needed to be remade. The 1976 Brian De Palma original still stands up today as an effective piece of genre artistry, and really, there's no way that any remake could have matched it for its tone and feel...

... and yet here is the remake of that very same 1976 Classic, doing a pretty decent job of accomplishing exactly that. Mostly.

Nearly 40 years after the release of the novel and original movie, you already know the plot of Carrie: "A shy, withdrawn, picked-on and browbeaten girl named Carrie White develops Telekinetic powers, flips her shit, and kills everyone who has ever wronged her."

Sure, that's a simple way to look at the plot, but it's also a VERY accurate way to describe it. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the original blurb on the novel's dustcover. *Or maybe not.

"Relax, Mom, I don't even have my dirty pillows yet!"
Teased by the pretty and popular kids at school, and chastised at home by her crazy mother for being a sinful whore, it's no wonder that the poor girl has a break with reality and decides to crush/tear/electrocute/mangle people to death with the mere power of her mind.

Aside from one teacher at school, and two cool kids with hearts of gold, they all have it coming anyway.

A girl's first period gone very wrong.
As unnecessary as this remake is, it's equally as decent. For a modern day Hollywood Horror production to not only go with an R-Rating, but to then make the most out of it, is a true rarity. The producers of this movie went with "artistic integrity" over Box Office with this effort, and the fact that they didn't scale back on the violence or subject matter in the name of some extra profit, benefited the quality of their film greatly.

Don't get it twisted; it's not a perfect effort, but it really is an effective one. It's not a very scary movie, but it's definitely filled with tension and delivers some jolts in the graphic kills department. It's also interesting to see the remake make a few changes to the story like giving us a little backstory on Carrie's conception and birth. Not all of the changes in this new version worked for us, but they at least felt like they belonged in the story that the remake was telling.

As far as the cast goes, Chloe Moretz was good as Carrie White, even if she didn't really fit the role of "weird and creepy girl" very well. She's a great little actress that did the most she could in this odd-fitting role, it was just hard for us to swallow the idea that this beautiful girl was the school creep, in any way whatsoever. Julianne Moore, on the other hand, was absolutely weird and creepy as Carrie's insane,  zealot of a Mother. Judy Greer is a fave of ours (it's that Michigan + Greer connection), and she does a great job here as the sympathetic Teacher. We've always felt that she's way underrated, and deserves a little more wide recognition for her versatility. *Check out Archer on FX for a great example of her versatility.

Had there never been a movie from 1976 called Carrie to compare it to, this 2013 version would stand on its own as being an above average Teen Terror flick. That's really the best that a movie like this could really hope for.

It's about time that she faced up to what a bitch she is. Zing!
Chloe Moretz is way too good looking to play Carrie White. Carrie is supposed to be awkward, gangly, creepy, and about 12 other adjectives that would never come into any discussion when describing Chloe Moretz. It's almost like they just decided that letting her hair look dirty and unkempt was supposed to give her that "Creepy Carrie" vibe... Chloe looks every bit the Prom Queen, not the outcast loser that Carrie White is supposed to be.

We also didn't really care to see her spare someone in the midst of her frenzied Prom massacre, mainly because she's supposed to be frenzied, which should preclude her from being selective in her killing.

Yeah, she definitely looks like an outcast.
The hand/body movements that Carrie made every single time she used her powers were a bit cheesy. Also, Chloe looked like she was trying too hard to be "crazy" when she was killing everyone. Chloe Moretz had to act her ass off to make us believe that she was unattractive and creepy, and there were times during the movie where you could tell that she was really pushing it.

Sissy Spacek was so effective as Carrie White because while appearing timid and odd, she could make her crazy eyes flare up with fiery insanity at a moments notice. It never came off like she was acting.

Take it down a notch, Chloe.
Surprisingly, there's a ton of blood in this one, and tons of people die in horrific, graphic ways. The finale at the Prom came off well, and it was every bit as bloody as was the original. The Windshield gag was definitely our favorite.

Kudos to all those involved in this movie's production to go for the R-Rating instead of pandering to a younger demographic and giving us a watered down effort a wider Teen audience.

That's a lot of blood.
No. The star of the movie is 16, and Juliette Moore is like 50, so, we're fine with them not being naked. That's us trying to be appropriate, not us being ageist jerks. In 2 years, Chloe can be as naked as she pleases, but for now, we ain't havin' it.  

This is as naked as anyone gets in this movie.
Never pick on the odd, withdrawn loser in school. Also, Religious zealots never seem to win, do they?

Harsh, but she did kill an entire graduating class...
As we do when most Horror remakes are announced, we scoffed at the idea of a Carrie reboot; we feared that it would be a watered-down, kid-friendly effort that would lack any of the gravitas that Brian De Palma's original classic had, and that it would be another "meh" effort. Well, we were wrong. This updated version of the Carrie White story was a pretty solid effort that managed to be bloody and effective, despite its weak points.

If you didn't see it in theaters, you could do worse than to give it a buy or a rent now. You'll most likely be as surprised as we were that not only does it not suck, but that it was actually pretty good.

Carrie is available now on Blu-ray/DVD, and VOD.


Being as she's one of the hottest young adult properties in Hollywood, it's crazy to think that Chloe Moretz has the best years of her career still ahead of her. She's already starred in plenty of great genre projects at this point, and we can't wait to see what her resume will look like 10 years from now.


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